spoiler alert: i linked this
Random midweek instate visits, okay
Kelly-Powell plans multiple return visits
A bunch of instate folks showed up for the Northwestern game: Cass S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, and OL Jordan Reid all stopped in. They brought King CB Ambry Thomas along with them. OL commit JaRaymond Hall, OL offeree Phillip Paea, and the top recruit in the 2018 MI class, Marquan McCall, also stopped by.
You're going to have to get used to Peoples-Jones articles in which he says positive things about an assortment of schools without tipping his hand at all. We can probably fast forward to February with him. On Signing Day Michigan will be a hat on the table and we will feel either good but nervous or not so much and still nervous.
Kelly-Powell endorsed the spring break trip…
"It's an awesome idea," he said of the camp. "It's an amazing opportunity for the team to bond and enjoy some nice weather on their spring break. I don't really understand why people don't like the idea. It's really going to be something that helps the team this season."
…and announced tentative plans for two further unofficials over the next two months, one next month and one for the spring game, that he "should be able to make." There's been some chatter about MSU and OSU in his recruitment; if Kelly-Powell does end up on campus three times in little over a month that would bode well. As of a week ago MSU was "making up ground," FWIW.
Thomas is tough to read. He may be the longest shot of any of those visitors if he follows through with his desire to GTFO:
“I think I want to get away, go far (for college) and create my own path,” Thomas said this week.
He's got a visit to Auburn scheduled and is trying to see Oklahoma; he is still talking to M, MSU, and OSU. On the other hand, Wiltfong thinks Michigan is the eventual choice for Thomas and he was positive about Brown:
"This visit was different and went really well," Thomas said. "It was a good chance for me to just kick it and get to know the coaching staff a lot more. I met Coach Brown for the first time, and he was a really laid back guy."
He told Scout that he was going to be on campus again next month to "lock up some of their top guys, you know." Michigan still has to hire a replacement for Greg Jackson, and that will be a big part of where Thomas eventually ends up.
Paea (left) is a new name
"The coaching staff and facilities were just amazing. The moment you were on campus you just get this really great feeling."
Paea's transitioning from being a linebacker and running back(!) to being a two-way lineman as he fills out, and he's got a lot of promise on either side of the ball:
“They really like his hips,” Scaccia said of college coaches. “He has that innate ability to unlock his hips and play with leverage. He’s still learning but they definitely see the potential there. They like the change of direction for a kid his size. He’s pretty straight-line fast. He can run a little bit.”
Paea joins MI LB Antjuan Simmons as guys who have gone from unheralded to fielding national offers (Simmons has a zillion; Paea added Oregon and Miami), emphasizing what a good year it is for in-state talent. The state has a dozen guys who have or will likely acquire high level out of region offers.
Probably not named after Brian Eno but you never know
TX RB Eno Benjamin seems at least mildly serious about exiting the state. He's not naming favorites but he's got a couple favorites, as one does:
"I am not naming really any favorites, but Iowa they kind of grabbed my attention, Michigan as well," Benjamin reported.
Benjamin is taking trips to Texas and A&M so don't rule out the locals; he plans a spring break trip to various northern schools highlighted by Michigan and OSU and inexplicably including Kansas.
New Jersey… I have heard of this place
Steve Lorenz mentioned in a VIP note a week or so back that Michigan was going to go after NJ ATH Markquese Bell a major priority and now he reports that Bell will visit in the spring. Bell then confirms that Michigan is pushing hard for him:
"Michigan was my first really big offer," he said. Rutgers and Temple were Bell's first two scholarships. "They saw something in me early and I appreciate that."
He's an ATH; at 6'3" 190 he's most likely a WR or safety. He plans a summer decision.
Wisconsin is still steamed about Ben Bredeson
A couple of Wisconsin offerees, WI OLs Alex Fenton and Logan Bruss went off the board to the Badgers. Don't know how high up on Michigan's board either guy was, but I did learn that Wisconsin fans are livid that Ben Bredeson escaped their clutches last year. They assume every instate lineman is theirs. Not without good reason, but sheesh one guy with a bunch of M connections exit and all the voodoo dolls in the state are repurposed.
Michigan hopes to give a further boost to the Cheese State's witchcraft industries by snatching WI OL Tyler Beach. Beach moved around a bit as a kid and isn't born and bred, which means Michigan should have a shot. He's scheduled a visit to M and various other places:
"I'm going to go out to Northwestern, Oregon State and most likely Arizona," Beach noted. "I may try to visit Notre Dame as well, and I'm trying to set something up there as we speak. I've been to Wisconsin a couple times already, and then the Michigan visit."
That visit will be March 11th. He plans a commitment before football season. At 6'8" he is definitely a tackle, and seems on his way to being a consensus four star.
More Rivals ranking updates
Michigan's top two center prospects moved up about 100 slots each in the most recent Rivals 250 revamp, with CA OL Brett Neilon landing at #113 and FL OL Cesar Ruiz at #106. WI OL Tyler Beach also snuck into the tail end of the top 250.
- MI WR KJ Hamler says he hasn't heard from Michigan in a while, displeasing Ace. Says he's still very interested and that he's not going to end his recruitment any time soon.
- CA CB Deommodre "Clamp Clampington" Lenoir will visit for the spring game; his list of schools standing out is entirely out-of-state, with M, Oregon, ND, Washington, and Texas A&M amongst the main contender.
- CA WR Joseph Lewis is one of those LA kids everyone thinks will go to USC; while they're usually right he is listing Michigan and Florida along with the Trojans.
- Michigan and USC are also competing for CA RB Stephen Carr, a soft USC commit, and CA CB Jaylon Redd. 247's Ryan Bartow really does not think Carr's "soft" USC commit is in fact soft, FWIW. Redd is a guy who Michigan has a legit shot at; Redd is a two way athlete who likes the idea of being Jabrill Peppers. Surprise. He "definitely" wants to visit.
- MS RB Cam Akers tells Lorenz that Michigan is going after him despite his Alabama commit. He's buds with MS LB Willie Gay, who we mentioned on Tuesday as a guy who is a candidate to break Michigan's long dry streak in Mississippi. Lorenz mentions that "many are skeptical" that either Akers or fellow Bama RB commit Najee Harris actually signs with the Crimson Tide, FWIW. Michigan is pursuing both.
- Michigan offered IN LB Pete Werner, joining a parade of regional powers in doing so. He "definitely" wants to visit as well, and has been to a game already.
- FL DE Robert Porcher IV is indeed the son of the former Lion and is interested in M; no offer yet.
You know what? Michigan has offered everyone. At this juncture they're flying out so fast and furious that unless there's a react piece or the player in question is notably likely to commit we might skip mentioning it. I'm mentioning this just to note what we might not mention: FL DE Zachary Carter got an offer; Lorenz points out that he's got a solid top two of Florida and Clemson and has basically only listed Southern schools.
While we are mentioning him we might not mention other high profile guys in similar situations. Because is a touted player a recruit? He has an offer-type substance.
Here's a react piece from a guy who just got offered
Call me Greg Sankey if you must. CA RB Stephen Carr is worth mentioning here. He just got a Michigan offer and despite being a soft USC commit his reaction to said event is promising:
“It was crazy, I honestly didn’t see it coming but I’m happy I have Michigan on my roster,” Carr said. “Michigan is a great school, a great program. It’s Michigan, man. Who wouldn’t want a Michigan offer?”
Just talk until a visit, but Carr's commit may be pretty notional—it was made in March, before a coaching change. Oddly, Carr told Wiltfong that he heard a lot of great things about Michigan from… Vic Viramontes. Sigh.
Here's another guy who just got offered
IL OL Kevin Jarvis is the gent:
EXTREMELY happy to announce I've just received an offer from Michigan! 〽️ pic.twitter.com/309Os740bn
— Kevin Jarvis (@Kevinjarvis71) February 22, 2016
A couple weeks ago Jarvis named Arkansas his leader; Arkansas's OL coach is none other than former Michigan OL Kurt Anderson. Jarvis is likely to be a consensus four star guard, and he's got excellent size at 6'5", 315; Josh Helmholdt was impressed with his recent camp appearances:
Just a really solid, well-rounded offensive guard prospect. 6-5, 315 pounds, has good feet. Saw him at Ohio State's Friday Night Lights camp over the summer and he was very good against a group of DL that included 2016 five-star Terrell Hall and 2016 four-star DT Antwan Jackson.
We'll see if the Michigan offer flips the direction of his recruitment. Leaning towards yes based on a text he sent Steve Wiltfong:
"Michigan is SICK," Jarvis texted 247Sports.
Well then. Jarvis plans visits to Arkansas and Michigan; those schools are a tentative top two.
Okay this is also a recent offeree
This is going about as well as "the SEC comes up for reasons to ban satellite camps." Anyway, Michigan extended an offer to KS TE Trevor Kent. Kent's a bit of a project since his high school never throws the ball—he had one reception last year—but Lorenz says he's "high on the TE board" all the same. He's saying the right things:
"I hadn't really heard from Michigan before that, so to get an offer from them like that so quickly was great because it showed me that they see something in what I can do. Michigan is a great football program that's getting better. They use tight ends like almost nobody else does either."
He is likely to visit in spring, because a family friend owns(?) the train line that runs by the stadium(?), which means he's friends with Amtrak(?).
Most of these guys have expressed serious interest, don't judge me
Michigan offered WV OL Billy Ross, who says he's "very interested" and wants to visit. Coincidentally he will be at IMG at the same time Michigan is and plans to attend practice. No leaders this early and Ross has fielded some other impressive offers like FSU.
Michigan also offered MI OL Jordan Reid. Reid is at Cass and so is obviously a person of interest immediately following an offer. Oddly, he told Marich that Michigan was his first Big Ten offer, which, uh…
— Jordan Reid (@jordanreid58) February 11, 2016
…is either major #disrespekt or incidental forgetful #disrespekt. Reid is wide open, plans an visit that is as of yet unscheduled, etc. Says he grew up a Michigan fan.
Testing the Mississippi black hole's gravity
Remember when Rich Rodriguez came in, hired Jay Hopson, and recruited Mississippi really hard for a bit? No? Right. You don't remember because Michigan didn't get one single kid from Mississippi; most of them went to in-state programs that were (at the time) amongst the worst in the country. The gravitational pull of Mississippi is not to be underestimated.
But Harbaugh is Harbaugh so Michigan is taking a swing at MS LB Willie Gay, a solid four star OLB who sounds genuinely interested:
"I've been watching Michigan football for as long as I can remember," he said. "I love everything about Michigan. They have always been one of those programs that I've kept track of and watched whenever they were on TV. I've watched so many YouTube videos about Michigan football and of their highlights and stuff."
Gay says he wants to visit over the summer. I'll believe a Mississippi kid commits to Michigan when it happens; IIRC the last one was Jeremy Lesueur, and that was a while ago. Gay lives in Starkville, further complicating things.
Rivals updates their Top 100
"He has the size of his father, former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey, and some of the athleticism of his brother, Heisman finalist Christian McCaffrey. His ability to keep defenses honest with his feet opens things up for his arm. He can make things look very easy at this level and is just starting to become a polished pocket passer."
Tim Sullivan also caught up with McCaffrey's coach, who offered high praise for his abilities both physically and mentally:
“First, I think if you saw our film throughout the year, he played extremely well as a dropback passer: five-star seven-step, play action,” Sherman said. “Then just having a great feel in the pocket, I think he’s got a great feeling for that piece of it. Especially in the playoffs, we relied a little bit more on his legs: he ended up being our leading rusher. He was able to get us 3-5 first downs a game with his legs in addition to what he could do with his arm.
“The other thing that a lot of people didn’t notice, he got us into the right play so much with kills and alerts at the line of scrimmage, that really allowed us to be in the right play against the defense we wanted to run it against. The combination of those three things are going to make him a really special quarterback at the next level and be awesome.”
As a result McCaffrey is now the #1 QB, pro style or dual threat, on the composite; he's 18th overall and a five star.
Other moves of significance by recruits Michigan has a pretty good shot at:
- MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones got a fifth star, sliding up seven spots to #13.
- AL WR Nico Collins also moved into the top 40, from #71.
- FL OL Tedarrell Slaton moved up about 100 spots and is now #47.
- FL OL Robert Hainsey moved up almost 200 spots and is now #56; he's at IMG and originally from PA.
Still a long way to go but Michigan now seems likely to have secured the top QB in the country.
In search of a center
NJ by way of IMG OL Cesar Ruiz tells Corey Bender that he has "six great friends" who go to Michigan and that he "knows the streets already" on campus. He's visiting a bunch of schools around IMG in the near future; he plans a Michigan visit over his spring break, and when asked who's recruiting him hardest it is M first out of his mouth. Michigan needs a center after not getting one last year and Ruiz looks like a solid bet to be that guy.
Michigan is also after CA OL Brett Neilon, another guy who projects to C. He seems almost as high on M as Ruiz in an article by Steve Lorenz. 2016 signee Kekoa Crawford is a former teammate; he's planning a spring visit, possibly for the spring game. He sounds like the kind of guy who ends up in Ann Arbor:
"Michigan was a huge offer for me. I'm looking for the "4 A's" when I'm evaluating schools: Academics, athletics, area and alumni. Michigan checks all four of those boxes at a really high level."
Lorenz is "contemplating" a CB for Michigan; we'd probably put one in but we've already got one for Ruiz. Would M take both? Both Ruiz and Neilon are around 6'3" and 290 now, so see one playing guard. Probably they get one or the other and recruit a couple of monster Gs.
Top X lists and leaders
- AL S AJ Harris lists a top four of M, FSU, Vandy, and Louisville, but he's already been to Auburn four times and has a fifth tentatively scheduled. That sounds like a situation where Auburn isn't offering right away because Harris is likely to pull the trigger when it does come.
- MO WR Jaevon McQuitty doesn't have a top list; he did tell the Nebraska Scout site that the Cornhuskers were "slightly" leading. Michigan's likely to take a limited number of WRs in 2017 and has high profile targets in DPJ and Collins so prospects like McQuitty are on the back burner until those guys indicate they're leaning elsewhere. McQuitty did tell Brice Marich he was planning a visit to M in April.
- New offer and CA OL Alijah Vera-Tucker has a tentative top three of M, USC, and Oregon. He's got a cousin at M. No mention of a visit yet.
- NY OL Isaiah Wilson released a top five of M, OSU, LSU, Bama, and UGA. He says he will definitely visit all of those schools before pulling the trigger; he's already been to Michigan twice.
- PA DE Donovan Jeter is a new offer; he told Sam Webb that he is likely to visit over he summer but that Pitt, PSU, and OSU have developed relationships with him already. Sounds like Michigan is a bit behind early, but he's acquainted with Khaleke Hudson and expects Hudson to be in his ear.
- PA LB David Adams fielded an offer, says he's definitely interested, and "possibly might" visit. He currently has ND and PSU visits set up.
FL CB Trajan Bandy committed to Oklahoma, which is a bit of a surprise so early. If Michigan does hire Chip Viney they might get back involved here. Meanwhile GA WR Jeremiah Holloman is talking up a Georgia offer… a Georgia Tech offer. That does not sound like a guy who will be rejoining the class.
Etc.: Michigan is sniffing around OR DT Marlon Tuipulotu but hasn't offered yet. MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell will be on campus Wednesday. FL DE Joshua Kaindoh plans a Michigan visit soonish. AL LB KJ Britt got a Michigan offer; he has blown up of late and will probably be hard to get out of the South.
That's a good sportmanteau right there. A high quality word-construct. /self high five
Anyway, a touted QB is always a nice piece to get in your recruiting class because people sit up and take notice. People like MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and MI DE Corey Malone-Hatcher.
@dpeoplesjones that's what I'm saying
— corey malone-hatcher (@CMH2017) February 16, 2016
Hyphenated people. Also people who sound like EDM superstars.
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) February 16, 2016
CT WR Tarik Black also told Steve Lorenz that McCaffrey's commit has an impact on him; Lorenz is skeptical that is a thing and not just a thing to say for most of these WRs.
Still, Michigan can sell Peoples-Jones and others on the fact that he's going to have a highly capable quarterback for the duration of his tenure. Harbaugh's track record and the kind of recruits they're bringing in should combine to make for an attractive proposition.
Top list for top target Bandy
FL CB Trajan Bandy released a highly specific top ten:
— Trajan Bandy (@BandyTrajan) February 18, 2016
Good spot to draft from, third. Lorenz relates that Michigan is more likely to move up that list than down it since he's one of the top CBs on their board along with Flangan's Stanford Samuels III.
Simmons returns to campus because it is across the street
I had a great visit to Michigan today!〽️ pic.twitter.com/kHSrFHCRv0
— antjuan simmons (@_antjuan_) February 17, 2016
Business has picked up with MI LB Antjuan Simmons since Don Brown was hired. Simmons has been on campus twice in the past month. That means a bit less than it might for players who have to get in some sort of vehicle to do so; it is still encouraging. Brown has a great affection for smallish, fast, and vicious linebackers—Simmons promises to be that guy.
This is Still my favorite play through high school so far pic.twitter.com/O6Q50ERsyy
— antjuan simmons (@_antjuan_) November 22, 2015
Yes. Yes he does. Michigan is recruiting him as a SAM, which should give you some insight into the kind of guy that will be at that spot going forward—think Stevie Brown, not Jake Ryan. He told Allen Trieu he got a "great vibe" at M. Interestingly enough, he mentioned the SAM thing with Brandon Brown and then followed it up with an odd name:
"He sees me at SAM linebacker. He wants me to play like Jabrill Peppers."
I guess nickelback == SAM linebacker under Brown? We'll see.
BONUS: ultimate croot tweeter right here
@_antjuan_ Don't go to Michigan, u can't even drink the water Bro, and the coach might ask u to stay the night, Creepy. Lol, best of luck
— Brandon Scott (@KashScott) February 18, 2016
This is exactly who I envision tweeting croots.
I never thought that dude from Smashmouth would stoop so low, though.
Surging for Eno Benjamin
— Eno Benjamin™ (@eno_benjamin5) February 16, 2016
Michigan offered TX RB Eno Benjamin, and that's significant enough to pull out of the bulleted list and discuss specifically because Benjamin is highly likely to be a major target. Benjamin's trainer is one David Underwood, another Texas running back who made the trek to Ann Arbor. Benjamin has a small top list that Michigan joins; he has an unusual leader for a top-100 type kid out of Texas:
“Michigan is working their way up to the top,” Benjamin said. “They’re up there. Iowa is still #1 right now. I’ve kind of been feeling Arizona State quite a bit as well as Texas Tech.”
He has a visit planned for early March. Lorenz thinks Michigan might already lead for Benjamin and that he's been after a Michigan offer for going on two years now, so that visit will be one to watch for a shift in his public leaderboard, or maybe even a commit.
As for what kind of back Benjamin is, Scout recently updated their brief scouting report:
Benjamin is a highly instinctive, high-volume running back who possesses big-play ability as well as workhorse production. Possesses exceptional feet w/outstanding balance and lateral ability. Dangerous start-and-stop runner who maximizes yardage at second level w/cutback ability. Good at avoiding direct blows. Lacks ideal size but gains ample yardage after contact. Not a top-end burner, but plenty fast w/good initial acceleration.
Sounds a bit like Fitzgerald Toussaint before he was Poor Damn Toussaint.
New offers & quick hits
Your regular list of guys sporting new offers who may or may not become major targets:
- Michigan offered 2018 CA QB Cameron Rising. I normally ignore kids who haven't played their junior year yet, but QB is an exception since those recruitments often end very early. Rising called the offer "surreal" and says he is "extremely interested"; he has a solid grasp on how handled guys as different as Kapernick and Rudock. Rising is a pro-style guy with rushing upside—he ran for 750 yards as a sophomore—and looks likely to be a major target in 2018.
- Scout reports an offer for KY OL Jedrick Wills, a "mauler" who will be tough to pull from the South. Scout has him #53 in 2017.
- 247 reports an offer to CA OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, who's around 200th on the composite.
- Rivals reports that CA DE Deonte Johnson got an offer.
- Rivals also reports that CA OL Popo Aumavae got offered. Oregon is the favorite. WI OL Logan Bruss also got an offer; as per usual Wisconsin will be tough to beat for an instate lineman.
- Apparently Michigan offered IN OL Emil Ekiyor a year ago. He "really loves" what's going on at M and has a tentative top five of M, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Georgia, and ND.
Small developments amongst guys who are already on the board:
- MI OL Phil Paea lists M, Oregon, and BYU as the schools he's "hearing from" the most. Those are often proxies for top X lists from recruits who are hesitant about putting a list out there. He just picked up a Minnesota offer; he tells the Minnesota Rivals site that Michigan was his favorite team in-state but his "dream offer" came from the Ducks.
- NJ LB Drew Singleton looks like another M-Clemson battle.
Etc.: McCaffrey is undecided on whether he will enroll early.
Hello a third time, Mr. McCaffrey
Ace's Hello post can be found here, and is ver' nice:
a big strong quarterback who has electric reset ability with his feet, meaning when he goes from one target to the next he wastes no time. He resets to number 2 better than most college quarterbacks. Dylan has a great smooth delivery.
He's a top 50 player to everyone except Rivals because of course; Rivals has him just outside their top 100.
McCaffrey told Sam Webb that it would take something "super traumatic" for McCaffrey to even consider a decommit. Hopefully Harbaugh doesn't broach the idea of practicing over spring break until after Signing Day. McCaffrey also has a #1 target as he dons his recruiter hat: yep, MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones.
FWIW, Wiltfong lists a bunch of guys who may join McCaffrey in the 2017 class. I'm not sure where either of these reads comes from, but it's clear he's in contact with the coaching staff:
It’s going to be a small class for Michigan in 2017 after signing 29 in what turned out to be the nation’s No. 5 recruiting class this past cycle according to 2016. … Michigan may take just one receiver in 2017.
Unless there's unexpected attrition from the senior class Michigan should have 18 to give at a minimum, and then there are a number of potential fifth-year guys that could exit. With the NFL and playing time transfers I expect Michigan at least gets to 25.
And finally, McCaffrey's commitment gives us the chance to catch up with immaculately-coifed Denver sportswriter Neal Devlin, who we last encountered during Alex Kozan's vision quest.
Jungle beats, Kurt Taylor style
Let us observe a drill:
— Chad Simmons (@ChadSimmons_) February 14, 2016
Man, Taylor is a compact little dude. Chance he gets compared to Vincent Smith: high.
Let's just glory in this enormous dude for a sec
I don't think his name will come up in connection with Michigan but this is too amazing to let slide:
Juan Harris, DT, West Union (Iowa) North Fayette
Juan Harris is an interesting guy. As we head into the spring of his junior year, he has already decommitted twice and had three different commitments, all involving the same school – Iowa. He's currently committed to the Hawkeyes and appears to be solid but all of that off-field drama distracts from the more important fact that this kid is a beast. At 6-4 and a weight that varies between 365 and 400 pounds, Harris has nimble athleticism and more mass than most offensive linemen can handle.
Somewhere in the fields of Iowa there is a 400-pound defensive tackle who has already committed to the Hawkeyes three times and recinded it twice.
Nobody has to make America great again; it never ceased being great.
SIDE NOTE: Ace reminded me that Williams is the guy who we thought Mike Onwenu was being confused with when news first broke that Onwenu was playing at 370, because if anyone at SMSB was 370 it was Williams. Onwenu is still made of some superdense alloy.
More Wilson react
Sam Webb caught up with NY OL Isaiah Wilson after his unofficial. Wilson has backed off Michigan as his leader, at least publicly. Things still sound pretty good:
“They made great impressions. Everything about them was genuine and inviting. They’re all on a mission. There is not any nonsense going on over there. I was with Ahmir Mitchell, Kareem Walker, who I’ve played against, and Khalid Hill.”
A summer decision is a possibility if Wilson thinks he's seen enough. He doesn't have anything upcoming listed on his 247 profile yet, FWIW. He's already been a number of places.
Tufele top four
Defensive tackle is a huge need in 2017 and Michigan doesn't have a lot of top names on the board right now; one of them is UT DT Jay Tufele. Tufele told Oregon's 247 site that Michigan is in his top four along with Utah, USC, and Ole Miss(?!), though an Oregon offer could change that.
Unfortunately, he does not have a visit to Michigan on the docket; he does expect to take his recruitment close to Signing Day, giving Michigan an opportunity to impress on an official.
Baron back on the market
Five-star TX LB Baron Browning has decommitted from Baylor. He didn't offer Scout any sort of top list in the aftermath. He is scheduled to hit up a Texas junior day in the near future, FWIW; Michigan will continue to recruit the guy through Signing Day just because.
Top four for Samuels
FL CB Stanford Samuels III is at Flanagan, where Michigan picked up three players a year ago. He's got a top four consisting of M, Clemson, FSU, and Georgia. Going to be tough—Samuels, like Devin Bush Jr, is an FSU legacy—but they did get Bush.
The NTDP, for football
An extensive article on IMG Academy notes that they cannot offer scholarships to in-state players, so any FL guy you see on the roster is paying like 70k for the privilege. Meanwhile it doesn't seem like a year or two in Florida is having much impact on recruits' final destination:
Most believed Florida, Florida State and Miami would get inherent advantages in recruiting players from IMG, specifically the Seminoles. Former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke, the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner, was IMG’s head coach in 2013 and 2014.
Three signing classes later, the same amount of IMG athletes (three) have signed with the Seminoles as Ohio State. That said, FSU and Miami are tied with the Buckeyes for the most IMG signees.
Just two other programs — LSU and Notre Dame — have signed more than one athlete from IMG in this three-year stretch. The Tigers reeled in receiver Davis and cornerback Smith, while the Irish got running back Tony Jones Jr. and safety Spence Perry.
Florida has signed no one from IMG Academy after defensive tackle Shavar Manuel, a Gators commitment, flipped to Florida State on national signing day last week.
That isn't much bias since a lot of the kids are close to Florida anyway. In this it's like hockey's NTDP, which has been in or near Ann Arbor for the duration of its existence but has mostly seen its kids go back to where they came from after they're done. By the time a lot of the IMG kids play a down for the school they'll be committed or en route to doing so.
Michigan offers underworld robot, also other new names
Deommodre Lenoir is not a fan of Zoidberg
- CA CB Deommodre Lenoir is interviewed by Washington mods in a break between rounds. He's got a Michigan offer and tentatively plans a visit; he seems to be leaning towards leaving the state. Washington is a serious contender, and I'm not just saying that to forestall a duel. Apparently nicknamed, yes, "Clamp Clampington." Do want.
- LA S Todd Harris picked up an offer. Normally offering a top 100 kid from Louisiana* would be an exercise in futility, but Harris told Lorenz that "there's just something different about Michigan" and would like to take a visit. He also says he wants to "compete for a starting job immediately," something Michigan can absolutely offer.
- Michigan, along with MSU and Oregon, offered previously unknown MI OL Phil Paea, a guy with no articles at any recruiting site until just recently. At 6'4" Paea is probably destined to be a guard. Trieu says this one will be "tough" for Michigan, with Oregon a "dream school." Possible he's related to NFL DE Stephen Paea, who went to Oregon State, and is from a West Coast family.
- This might not be a new offer but it's new to me: TX RB Eno Benjamin is planning a visit on March 8th. Benjamin is a top 100 guy to Scout and just outside of it on the composite. The visit is part of a Midwest swing through M, OSU, NW, Iowa, and… uh… Kansas?
- Michigan is also moving up the list of FL RB Kyshaun Bryan. Bryan attended Heritage with new Michigan tight end Nick Eubanks; he's transferring to St Thomas Aquinas for his final year. He tells Lorenz that Eubanks is "honestly like a brother" and that he's setting up a spring visit. SEC schools are the competition. Bryan was also interviewed by Scout and seems to have a tentative top four of M, UF, FSU, and LSU, although Florida hasn't talked to him recently.
*[An aside on the LSU-football-might-not-exist thing: it's brinksmanship balderdash that will have zero impact on any recruit this cycle. LSU, the institution, has been strugglingfor abit now and it just does not matter to instate recruits. Meanwhilethe state goverment isn't going to let their flagship institution close for a semester.]
So, uh, this is going to be shorter
Ain't much happening now other than Harbaugh fighting with the SEC commissioner about going to IMG. Michigan's sent out some offers, a few kids were on campus, and right now there's a slow trickle of news. It's nothing like the entertaining chaos leading up to Signing Day.
Talking with the man
MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, a freshly named five-star at 247, had a conversation with one Jim Harbaugh on Signing Day.
Just got off the phone with Coach Harbaugh !! A great guy ...
— DPJ™ (@dpeoplesjones) February 3, 2016
He is a priority. Surprise!
Wilson visits, isn't committing yet
With the possible exception of CO QB Dylan McCaffrey, NY OL Isaiah Wilson is probably the top name on a hypothetical list of recruits Michigan fans are hoping to get an early commitment from. A combination of need, Wilson's rankings, and Michigan's oft-repeated status as his leader make him a prominent name early in the cycle.
We'll have to hold our horses a bit longer Wilson tweeted out a few days a go that he wasn't going to commit until "summer or maybe December." Still, things are pointing the right direction. Dude is retweeting Michigan softballists at the academic center.
— Michigan Softball (@umichsoftball) February 10, 2016
Early yet big name everyone's after etc. Knock on wood and everything; feeling pretty good here.
Stritzinger reiterates Michigan lead, Wilson drops by
Wilson wasn't alone; Michigan had a select group up over the weekend. MI ATH Allen Stritzinger took another visit to Ann Arbor and reiterated to Josh Newkirk that Michigan is his leader. He has seen the Peppers, and likes it.
“(Coach Wheatley) is still on me about playing running back,” Stritzinger said of UM running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley. “But there are a lot of kids who are in the position to play both ways, and after seeing how Jabrill (Peppers) was used this year as an athlete, that’s what I’m looking at. That’s the same thing that I want to be, to be out on both sides of the ball, any way I can to get on the field.”
I expect this kind of thing to ramp up over the season to the point where McCaffrey is talking about playing some WDE. Stritzinger plans on extending his recruitment in to the fall; it would be an upset if he didn't land in Ann Arbor. Apparently as a defensive back.
The other uncommitted DB recruit on campus last weekend was Don Brown special and MI S Scott Nelson. He said some nice things and remains open. Still waiting for the Michigan State shoe to drop there.
Mending fences with Simmons
MI ATH Antjuan Simmons released a top 11 without Michigan in it, and then visited Michigan this weekend. This isn't a huge commitment since it involves walking across the street from his high school, but it does seem like whatever ill feelings existed after Michigan was slightly tardy in joining the offer parade he experienced last fall are getting patched over:
“I’m very interested in Michigan,” said Simmons. “It is a program on the rise. They are now in my top list and they're gaining ground.”
Simmons is going to look around extensively; he recently visited Texas A&M. Michigan at least figures to stick in his top list going forward.
MI CB Ambry Thomas is tough to read based on his interviews, which oscillate wildly. The latest comes from South Carolina's Rivals site after he got a Gamecock offer:
“Honestly, I’m feeling down south, somewhere down there,” he explained.
He plans a visit tour through the SEC and ACC in the spring. The last time we checked in with Thomas he was giving an ND site a midwest-oriented top five without Michigan, so… yeah. Get the feeling there are going to be a lot of changes in his recruitment. Out of state seems more likely than not at the moment.
New names and quick updates
Gentlemen will pop up on the radar with frequency now. This week's batch:
- 6'5" AL WR Nico Collins has set an unofficial for the end of March. That'll be his second time on campus, which is a indication Michigan is a real contender; Lorenz says dad is a M fan. Collins #54 on the composite. He is also 6'5". Yes, please.
- CA OL Brett Neilon and Wyatt Davis tell Brice Marich they have set a visit for late March as well; could be a junior-day-type-thing coming together.
- CA CB Jaylon Redd says a visit is a "strong possibility" and that he likes… wait for it… Jabrill Peppers.
- CA CB Greg Johnson names Michigan one of four schools pursuing him the hardest. He's planning a spring unofficial to Tennessee; no Michigan trip on the docket yet.
- CA TE Josh Falo has some interest in Michigan but won't take an unofficial. He'll have to wait for fall to come to campus. Michigan successfully executed the Asiasi recruitment in a similar situation, at least.
- Michigan (and Alabama) offered AL DE LaBryan Ray. Ray says he doesn't know if he'll visit Michigan, so… yeah. Probably nevermind on this one.
- Michigan offered OH TE Trey Pugh, a 6'6" 220 flex type. Duke, Northwestern, and Penn State are his other top schools so a high academic guy.
- FL OL Tedarrell Slaton has publicly backed off his previous assertions that Michigan led while talking to Miami's Rivals site. That's the kind of thing that happens sometimes when a kid is open about a favorite or two early in the process and gets some pushback. Michigan will no doubt stay involved.
1 hour 48 minutes
OTHER THAN GARY starring Denard Robinson and Jake Rudock, 8:30, NBC
A big thanks to our sponsors. The show is presented by UGP & Moe's and frankly would not be happening without them; Rishi and company have been on board here from almost the beginning. Shopping with them helps us and supports good dudes. Check out 100years.moe for the rich history of Michigan's oldest apparel store.
All superlatives on this podcast are "Other than Rashan Gary" and many are also "Other than Khaleke Hudson." Brandon Peters is good; the wide receivers are diverse and plentiful; tight ends out the wazoo; tackle the main downer.
Starts at 37:18
Some guy named Rashan Gary. Suddenly a ton of linebackers. A couple of key pieces at corner. Safety a concern.
Ann Arbor Minute and Gimmicky Top Five
Starts at 1:07:56
Gimmicky Top Five is just "favorite recruits in the class" (other than Gary and Hudson). You can tell that this is a good class because Ace and I have almost entirely different lists.
Across the Crooked Blue Line w/ Steve Lorenz
Starts at 1:22:00
Having just run down the class in some detail we ask Steve for an overview of Michigan's PWO class, which is a dozen strong and possesses a number of players who could break through to be the next Kovacs, Glasgow, or Glasgow. We also ask him about the best recruiting story of the year and put him through the TERRIFYING LIGHTNING ROUND.
"Across 110th Street"
"Still Alive" by Jonathan Coulton
"We Were Sad But Now We're Rebuilding" by Bear vs. Shark
"Roc Boys(And The Winner Is)" by Jay-Z